Tasty food options
Includes a stove
Lacks some essentials
Low-quality backpack zippers
We purchased the Wise Company Survival Kit Backpack so our expert reviewer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.
Whether it’s at home or on a road trip, I know natural disasters can strike in seconds. That’s why I made 2020 the year I’d put disaster preparedness on my priority list. But preparing for an emergency is more than throwing a few water bottles and granola bars in a bag. It’s understanding what ailments could result from disasters, what fuel you need to survive for days, and how to stay safe, protected, and sheltered if your home is compromised.
That’s a lot to think about—which is why I was ready to invest in a solid earthquake survival kit to make sure I have all of the essentials. And that’s where the Wise Company Survival Kit Backpack came into play. I took this bag on a trial run to see how its gear would work in a disaster, and if the items are high-quality enough to give me peace of mind. Leveraging the expertise of my in-house expert—my fiancé, an emergency medicine doctor who specializes in disaster medicine—I tested the Wise Company Survival Kit Backpack. Here’s how it performed.
Quality: Solid and reliable gear
The Wise Company Survival Kit Backpack (for one person) comes with quite a bit of gear, and most of it is high-quality. The squeeze flashlight is easy to operate in a pinch, the 5-in1 survival whistle (which also includes a compass, a waterproof match container, signal mirror, and flint fire starter) is easily audible, the matches work quickly and easily, and the stove (plus fuel tablets) and cup have enough power and capacity to make due for several meals. (The stove may be small, but when we tested it out, it heated up quickly!)
Speaking of food—I was seriously impressed with the options in this kit! Instead of the military-grade food bars in some survival kits, this pack comes with some delicious options to make on the stove, including apple cinnamon cereal, hearty tortilla soup, and whey milk, to name a few. It also comes with five 4.2-fluid-ounce water pouches; this is pretty sparse compared to other bags, so you’ll want to add additional water jugs to your emergency basement closet (or wherever you store that emergency gear).
This kit comes with delicious food to make on the stove, including apple cinnamon cereal, hearty tortilla soup, and whey milk.
The poncho, backpack zippers, and first-aid kit are the only parts of this pack that don’t get my full endorsement. The poncho is pretty flimsy and could snag easily, the backpack zippers were already off the track when I first opened it, and the first-aid kit has a few essentials, but not nearly enough for an earthquake or disaster (more on that below).
Utility: A solid disaster starter pack
The Wise Company Survival Kit Backpack has quite a few earthquake survival essentials, but these tools and gadgets can also double as a hurricane-ready kit, a tornado go-bag, or really any kit to give you peace of mind in a disaster. That said, it’s not perfect. It lacks quite a few CDC-recommended essentials for earthquakes, including rope, gloves, a tent, and a radio.
I consider this product a starter kit.
For this reason, I consider this product a starter kit. However, because it contains room for more gear and is priced affordably (at around $80), it would be easy enough to purchase additional items and add them.
Versatility: First-aid kit could use work
So many things in this jam-packed go bag impressed me, but the first-aid kit was not one of them (and my fiancé agreed). This 37-piece bandage kit is pretty barebones. It lacks many of the items you’d need for earthquake-related injuries—including shears and tweezers, which are important for debris-related injuries. The kit does have a dust mask, which is a solid start, but it definitely needs work when it comes to medical supplies. That’s why my fiancé recommends getting another, more robust travel first-aid kit and throwing it in the pack.
It lacks quite a few CDC-recommended essentials for earthquakes, including rope, gloves, a tent, and a radio.
Weight: A portable pack
The Wise Company Survival Kit Backpack is lightweight and easy to carry, but that’s largely due to the fact it doesn’t have much water. If you were to fill this with the same amount of water as other bags (between 20 to 40 packs of 4.2-ounce water sacks), it’d be a different story.
Size: A carry-on size backpack
This kit could easily fit under an airplane seat, although I wouldn’t recommend packing it unless you clear out supplies like water and sharp-edged gear! It’s easy to carry, small enough to stash in a car or closet, and has comfortable carrying straps.
Price: Affordable upfront, but you’ll need to add gear
At first glance, this kit’s price tag of around $80 seems affordable—especially given that the included supplies are valued at close to $120 (including the backpack). But don’t be surprised as those necessary additions add up. In order for this bag to be entirely disaster-ready, you’ll need to buy more water, a better first-aid kit, rope, gloves, a tent, and a radio. This isn’t outrageous—it’ll just make it much more on par with pricier competitors.
Competition: Multiple preparedness kits to choose from
Sustain Supply Co. Comfort2 Emergency Survival Bag: The Sustain Supply 72-hour preparedness kit (view on Amazon) is chock-full of emergency essentials, as well as a number of items that would make it a bit more comfortable to be stuck in an emergency. While reviewing the Sustain Supply kit, I was most impressed with the tasty food, high-quality cookware (think mini-pots, collapsible bowls, and a mini stove), and the backpack itself. This kit does come at a higher price, however (around $200 for two people).
Redfora Complete Earthquake Bag: I also tested the Redfora Complete Earthquake Bag (view on Amazon) and was surprised by the high quality of this bag’s gear as well. It meets almost all of the CDC requirements for earthquake gear, and comes in a lightweight, 10.5-pound pack. It is somewhat pricey—around $115—but you get a lot for your money with this jam-packed bag.
Need some help finding what you’re looking for? Read our list of the best earthquake kits.
- Product Name Survival Kit Backpack For One Person
- Product Brand Wise Company
- Price $89.99
- Weight 11 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 20 x 10 x 10 in.
- Color Black, red, camo
- Material Nylon pack
- What’s Included 32 total servings of food (including apple cinnamon cereal, brown sugar cereal, creamy pasta, southwest beans and rice, hearty tortilla soup, and whey milk), 4.2-fluid-ounce water pouches (5), 36 piece first aid kit; N95 dust mask, pocket tissues, wet naps (3); water purification tablets, portable stove (including fuel tablets), stainless steel cup, waterproof matches, squeeze flashlight, 5-in-1 survival whistle, mylar blanket, emergency poncho, playing cards
- Warranty 90-day money back guarantee